Leslie Hoffman, the executive director of the nonprofit group Earth Pledge, thinks fashion is about ten to 20 years behind the food industry when it comes to sustainability. But after making the rounds at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week shows, I noticed that fashion is quickly following the food world’s obsession with all things organic, sustainable and local.
Soybeans, banana leaves and piña, a fabric derived from pineapples, were key “ingredients” at FutureFashion, the green runway event hosted by Earth Pledge.
This year’s event was embraced by 28 top designers, including Behnaz Sarafpour, Yves Saint Laurent and Narcisco Rodriguez — all following the lead of eco fashion pioneers like Edun and Stewart + Brown. (Check out highlights from the runway here.) After spending months researching and drinking tea for our March tea feature I found Donna Karan’s tea-dyed evening gown genius.
In Milan, brilliant fashion designer Kean Etro took things a step further, transforming the runway into a garden complete with soil and herbs. The models showing off his Fall/Winter Collection, aptly named Harvest Style, carried produce down the catwalk to the anthem “Let the Sun Shine In.” There wasn’t a hint of hippy-style in his designs. Instead, the clothes were plush (lots of velvet) and edgy, with vegetable and legume themes tastefully integrated into herringbone fabrics and checks. He even worked coffee-bean prints into a trench.
At the end of the show, “cookbooks” were distributed to the audience with “recipes” for Etro’s newest innovation: a line of “edible” shirts which he’s playfully titled “Cooked.” The idea behind the collection is to enhance stained clothes in the kitchen rather than throwing them out. I love the recipe for baking a white Etro shirt like a blueberry pie at 330 degrees for 40 minutes: the result, an eco-chic tie-dye look. The Cooked line will hit stores next month.